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Two Simultaneous Truths

by Katie Ball Peca about a year ago in body

Can two opposite understandings both be true?

Be forewarned, this is part rant, and part examination of what it means to stand with women who have been through sexual trauma rather that silence and diminish them. Here we go...

I know what I know to be true.

And they know their own truths, or "truths."

These understandings, mine and theirs, they're vastly different and contradict each other. How can what I know, and what they know be so far apart and both be reality? They can't. Can they?

He's a good guy.

He's NOT a good guy.

He's got your back.

Watch your back.

He's never hurt me.

He's sexually assaulted multiple women.

Good.

Bad.

Trustworthy.

Devious.

Friend.

Predator.

To the women who will stand up and testify that the man who raped me is a good guy, because he never raped you...that's absurd. It's ridiculous and it's arrogant, and it's mean. To the women who will cross their fingers behind their backs and utter the words "he's a good guy", well, I wonder how you'll sleep at night. How do you sleep at night? To the women who will do their damnedest to invalidate my experience, I'm happy you were never hurt by him, or at least, that you don't recognize that what occurred between you was violence, I wish you'd give me the benefit of the doubt, and have my back.

And to the men who have said that if it's "just you" than it doesn't hold water, as if there need to be multiple victims to make him a dangerous offender. To those men, who would imply that a case of "he said she said" will be detrimental to me, and futile, what the heck guys? What are you thinking? Are you really implying that his word is more important than mine, or that just one rape victim, having committed just one rape, is excusable? That's messed up. Imagine if that rule stood for other crimes? One bank robbery? Excusable. One murder? We'll let you off with a warning but next time you'll be in big trouble. Only burned down one house? Never fear! Just one DUI, Psh! All good! Those scenarios would be ridiculous right? So, why does it fly when discussing sexual assault.

Bottom line, one is enough.

One counts.

One can stand alone and still be valid.

I imagine it must be bemusing when you first her that someone you know has been accused of something unthinkable. I suspect you'll go through a spectrum of emotions, I think that makes sense. You'll probably think, "but he seems like such a nice guy", or "no way he could do something like that?", or even "I thought I knew him." All of these thoughts are fair. But, when you make assertions like "he's never raped me, so he probably didn't rape her", or "it probably wasn't that bad," well, that's not cool folks. Don't do that.

I can't wrap my head around that.

Instead of invalidate someone else's experiences, why not just admit people can surprise us. People are variable and capable of anything. As hard as it is, lets admit that you can't ever truly know ALL of someone, there will be facets and corners of their nature that you never get to see (count your blessings).

A word of advice, if you'll have it, but when you're feeling tempted to gossip, or chime in on the goings on in someone else's life, even if one of those people are your friends, just don't. Don't do it. Allow yourself to consider that you don't know what you're talking about.

You don't know what happened.

You don't know what it felt like.

You don't know me.

You don't know him.

And you don't know the damage you're doing when you assert otherwise.

Therefore, just don't.

In this #Metoo era, more and more victims are coming forward to reveal their experiences and the fallout they've lived with ever since. With each of us that raises our hand, symbolizing our membership to this horrible club, we realize just how common sexual assault is, and acquaintance rape. Coming forward takes extreme courage. What a person in this position needs, when they're laying bare something so painful and making themselves so vulnerable, is support. Lots of love and support. Hold the judgement and the malicious gossip, not helpful.

Have that persons back.

Yes, even if their accused abuser/rapist is your friend. Remember, we can't ever know EVERYTHING about anyone, so it's very possible you didn't realize your pal was handsy or not fond of the word "no." That sucks, but it's plausible. It doesn't negate your friendship with that person, or all the truths you thought you knew (but it does negate some, like he's a good guy), but even those with tons of friends can do very bad things.

Have the victims back.

You're not on the jury, you're not the judge, and you're not privy to all the details, any speculation you're tempted to make won't be helpful.

So, my truth is my truth, no less valid because it doesn't mirror your own truth, and vice versa if you like.

All of us have sides unknown and are capable doing things no one imagined we could. There are in fact many truths co-existing. You don't need to attack any truth that contradicts your own in order for yours to be valid.

Leave victims truths alone.

Leave my truth alone.

body

Katie Ball Peca

Welcome to my bio readers! I'm Katie, correctional nurse, mom, hobbyist tarot reader and amateur tattoo artist. I am, hoping to marry together my love of art, tarot, nursing and counseling into an ideally enjoyable collection of writings!

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